Dawdling Days

It was an inauspicious start to a journey that had been on the drawing board for many months, for when the day of departure arrived, so too did illness. Not to be deterred by a touch of misery, I popped a couple of painkillers, clambered into the passenger’s seat of the campervan and, with a few groans of pain, I gave the nod that I was ready to begin the trek that would take us from the Queensland coastal city of Gladstone to the outback town of Longreach, a distance of around 900kms. Feeling a bit under the weather, I reluctantly cancelled plans for a cruise on the city’s harbour and opted for a quiet start to the adventure with a relaxing hour or two at the Tondoon Botanic Gardens, where no one would hear me scream if the tablets failed to subdue the symptoms of illness.

It was late morning by the time we finally left the city and began our westward journey, with the first stop being at Calliope, a town that, once a sleepy village, is now a sprawling satellite suburb of Gladstone, and where the major attraction is the historic village on the banks of the wide Calliope River.

For those who have time to spare, there are plenty of interesting detours along this westward route, but eager to get some miles on the clock we put a visit to Kroombit Tops National Park on the back burner and headed on towards Biloela. As the effects of the painkillers finally wore off, a churning stomach ache and associated pains returned with a vengeance, and I was grateful when we found a secluded spot to camp among roadside bushland and, with another dose of medication, I slept with the soundness of the dead.

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